Yes, you read the headline correctly. In a single match, the referee issued red cards to 8 players from Gremio and Internacional, two sides who have a history of intense rivalry amongst themselves. They compete in one of the fiercest derbies in South America, locally known as ‘Grenal’.
A minor scuffle between two opposing players in the 88th minute resulted in a major blowout between the two rivals, as players and substitutes and even the manager of Gremio, Renato Portaluppi, was involved.
The match was dramatic for the entire duration of the game as the failure to find a winner, led to a lot of frustration, drama and intensity from both sides, which boiled down to the raging fight between the two squads towards the end of the game.
Tempers were flaring and the fans in the stadium were raging as players of both the sides went at each other, as seen in the video below.
There were fistfights, kicks, and players grabbing each other’s throats. The four match officials were exasperated as they attempted to calm the situation.
It was like a battle being fought on various fronts as there were arguments and violence all over the pitch. What didn’t help the situation was the fact that the score line was 0-0 and thus, whichever team scored the goal, would have the bragging rights over their rivals.
This was Gremio and Internacional’s first meeting in the Copa Libertadores and you can understand why they wanted the victory so bad.
South American football is known for its passion and intensity, with a lot of the matches played in packed stadiums and noisy crowds. So, the tension of these matches can get to you, but this was completely against the spirit of the game.
The referee took strict action when all players were calmed as he sent off four players of Gremio and four players of Internacional. There have also been talks of strict action against both clubs for this completely blatant violation of the spirit of the game.
This was the second most number of red cards issued in a Copa Libertadores game and that stat conveys how serious of a fight it was.
Let’s hope the spirit and the beauty of the game can be maintained when the Copa Libertadores returns to action after all games were suspended due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Check out the nasty fight below –